Monthly Archives: December 2013

One day and Two Days Old….

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I missed yesterday’s post and not because nothing happened of significance 8 years ago but because I’ve been trying to get ready for that certain 8 year old’s 9th Christmas.  So let’s go back to 2005….

My little man was a day old and I was determined to stay away from the hospital till noon~ish so that I could get some much needed packing done (by this point my boss at Hallmark had given me a few weeks off).  I even had a college student over for the day to help me pack up some stuff.  Moving day was coming quickly and we needed to be out of the apartment.  Well, I couldn’t stay away and I said to Allison (the young lady helping me) “Hey can you drive me to Dekalb Medical so I can see him and hold him?”  I threw in “you will be the first to meet him”.  When we got there the social worker meet us at the door and for a moment my heart stopped — but she just happened to be down there waiting on the birth father to come in to sign some paper work they needed on their end.  Of course he was a no show but she assured me this was not a problem and in fact she had good news that I could visit the nursery now without going through the birth mother.  We continued to talk a little and it was my prayer that the birth mother would take us up on the offer for a safe warm place to spend Christmas and then head into rehab.  And then who comes walking down the hall but the birth mother herself, needing at least a smoke.  Then we all went back up to her room where the nurses came in and did Littleman’s hearing test (which he passed).  Allison and I stayed awhile and I held my baby tight.  We left late afternoon with the promise to him and to the birth mother that Joe and I would be back by dinner.

When Joe and I returned for dinner I knew I could go straight to the nursery and we could spend time together just the three of us for the first time.  But my heart couldn’t do that without first going to see the birth mother.  The nursing staff stopped us to tell us the baby was in the nursery and that he had just stopped crying and feel asleep.  I indicated that we were on our way to check in with the birth mother first.  Joe nor I felt really sure about what was going on because the atmosphere at the nursing station told us something was up.  When we got to the birth mother’s room, the sheets where off the bed, the hospital given diaper bag contents where on the table but the bag itself was gone but the room itself was a mess.  It became clear to me that the birth mother had just left, left without checking out or anything.  I knew earlier that day she was looking for a hit of something she couldn’t get in the hospital.  Joe thought maybe she was discharged.  But I knew if that were the case the room would have been cleaned completely and the nursing staff would have just told us that.  She simply left — somewhat abandoning her child — yet knowing he was in our care.  So from there we went into the nursery and for the first time spent time with our baby  — just our family!  What a treat that was and the nursery staff said every time he hears your voice he quiets down and he’s bonded with you just as if you had given birth to him.  I was so touched.

We left that night, feeling a bit anxious not knowing what would happen since the birth mother had sort of disappeared.  I couldn’t wait to talk to the attorney first thing the next morning.

So day two of Littleman’s life began with a frantic call to the attorney’s office.  But my frantic nature quickly turned to utter surprise.  Here it is December 23, 2005 and the doctors were clear he wasn’t going home or anywhere in 2005.  But the attorney said, “Well, Rev. Moore I was just getting ready to call you because the hospital social worker just called and needs us at the hospital by 11 am.” I asked if this has to do with the “missing birth mother” and he said “nope but it helps our case if she tries to fight the adoption.  This has to do with your baby coming home today.”  I didn’t know whether to scream cry or what to do.  I was totally unprepared for this – other than a few diapers, bottles, the formula from the hospital and of course the car seat.”  Oh not to mention we didn’t have a car quite yet because it was in the shop with a major repair (we sort of said well, we NEED it by 10:30 and they got it done).  My baby would be home for his first Christmas!

We were overjoyed and scared to death at the same time.  In the state of GA the birth parents had 10 business days to revoke their surrender but beyond that I felt so unprepared for a baby to sleep in my house that night — there wasn’t a bed for sure.  But ready or not he was coming home — all 4 pounds 8 oz’s of him.

When we arrived at the hospital I felt as if we signed our lives away as we had stacks of paperwork to fill out for the state, for the hospital and for our attorney (not sure which was worse the purchase of our home a few days before or this).  Then the doctors went into their speech how they really couldn’t explain why he was doing so well and didn’t really seem to have the withdrawals that he should from the drugs that were in his system.  I finally said, “I don’t know what you believe but I believe in an awesome God and we’ve longed to be parents and this is our Christmas miracle.”

That night I braved Walmart to buy a bassinet because I couldn’t bear to have my baby not sleeping in a real bed his first night at home.  I’m not sure there was ever a quicker trip into a walmart and back into the apartment.  And we even got the thing put together without to much trouble — but nothing was a trouble because we had a baby to love and care for.  We were mommy and daddy!

A love hate relationship for sure!

A love hate relationship for sure! 

 

Daddy's the popular one today!  It's definitely LOVE!
Daddy’s the popular one today! It’s definitely LOVE!

 

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Our Christmas Miracle!

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At 2:30 am (now remember I went to sleep at about 2am) on December 21, 2005 my  phone rang and it was the ministry director proclaiming “Congratulations Mom, your son has been born, just in time for Christmas.  Go to Dekalb Medical Center now.”  By this time, I’m half dressed as being a pastor one knows that when the phone rings in the middle of the night one must be needed

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Well this time it did also but for completely different reasons.   I was indeed at first confused, I confess, I thought maybe this lady had been studying the ultrasound from earlier the day before and had just figured out it was a boy but no she really meant that our baby had been born.  So much for 6 weeks.

By the time I got off the phone Joe was up and getting dressed and we called his mom as we were leaving our apartment.  We had no idea what to expect, as we didn’t have any legal papers drawn up – heck we didn’t even have an attorney, never mind anything else we needed.  But we trusted and we were ready to let the hospital folks know that we were the birth mother’s pastor but that was not needed.  As we entered the hospital it was if they were waiting for us and everyone treated us with such respect and knew we were the adoptive parents of the baby that had just come in by ambulance.  No nothing was wrong with the little guy, he just came so quickly he was born en route to the hospital in the ambulance.

When we arrived to maternity and delivery we stood at the nursery window with tears in our eyes as the nurses indicated which precious bundle was ours and watched as they pricked him to check his blood and did all the other tests that happen in the first few hours of a new born’s life.  My dream was coming true.  We also visited with the birth mother and made certain she still wanted to give him up for adoption, which she did and she again assured me that she would never do anything to take him away from us that her promise was good and she knew he would be in the best hands possible with us to love and care for him.  We spent the rest of the night in the hospital room with his birth mother and him (until paper work was worked up we could only be with the baby in the mothers room).  But it was me who changed his first diaper – which was such wonderful.  I was taken aback because they had bagged him to get a toxin screen on his first urine and it was I who feed him his first bottle.  Gifts that lots of adoptive parents don’t get to do.  God’s hands were certainly in the midst.

The doctors believed that although this little bundle of boy appeared to be “normal” that he had a long road ahead of him as he would certainly have major withdrawal from the illegal and legal substances found in his body.  They prepped us for what was to come the shrill screaming, the inconsolable cry, perhaps tremors or even seizures.  They quickly told us they would not be discharging him till well into the new year.  It was as if they wanted us to turn our backs on him.  But there was no way we were instantly in love and the parent baby bonds had begun to happen.

Early that morning about 7:30 am we got hooked up with an attorney that was willing to take on our case and would meet with Joe and the birth father at his office and would then come to the hospital for the birth mother to sign her part of the surrender of parental rights.  It was only because of the fact I was a bit late with my last quarterly payment for my self employed taxes that I had the money to write the attorney a retainer check.  By mid day Joe was back at church doing some work, the surrender of rights had been signed by both parents and I just hung out in the hospital room with my precious baby and the mother who gave birth to him.  Those moments were holy to me – no other words can describe them.

Joe had to pull me away that evening about 7 or 8 because I’d been there all day without much to eat and without any sleep.  Plus we had learned that we needed to return the refrigerator we bought because it wasn’t the right size and have a new one purchased and delivered plus we realized that we at least needed a car seat to bring our precious new one home in ~ whenever that was going to be.  So we rushed off to HHGregg to return the one refrigerator and arrange for it’s pick up and delivery of another and then to Babies R Us to pick a car seat.  I’m sure it was all good that i was so in awe, shock and suffered from severe exhaustion because normally I would have researched every pro and con of every carseat — but that night I just picked on. Didn’t care, just so long as it wasn’t to girly.

By the time we finished up there my cell rang and it was evident that word had somehow gotten out at church because the Women’s Fellowship had also made a trip to Babies R Us that day and told us to stop by my office because they had a gift for us.  Well my office was FULL of stuff diapers, pacifiers, bottles, sleepers, hats, a few toys, a bear, sheets for one of the new pack and plays that was in the nursery, cozy warm blankets and well pretty much anything we needed to bring the baby home (again whenever that would happen).  Our hearts were overfilled with JOY.  We loaded up the car and took it all back to the apartment and as I thought about my sweet baby lying in the nursery I looked at how much folks had already done for him to welcome him into our family and the church family.   Indeed he was loved and we were loved.

The love would grow and increase over the next 8 years but stay tuned for the reminder of his first days.  More tomorrow friends.

5 days into our journey….

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So tonight we celebrated an 8th birthday party (just a bit early) but let’s talk about what happened 8 years ago today.  I didn’t post anything yesterday because well nothing really happened other than a stressed out mom and dad to be closed on our first and likely last home.  But we were discussing adoption…..so it’s December 20, 2005.

I was working at Hallmark and Joe was busy at the new house and with church stuff, with Christmas Eve only a few days away.  We knew that the birth mother was going to be having her ultrasound sometime today and we both went about our business trying hard to not stress to much about the ultrasound.  We were grateful we were able to put her and the birth father up in a hotel the night before so that she could have a shower and be clean and ready for her first prenatal care visit with this baby.  We received the call about 5 or so that she had the ultrasound and that everything looked great except the baby wasn’t due for 6 more weeks, according to size and some measurements.  No sex was determined because of the way the baby was turned.  So again the stress hit us hard — how could we keep this lady clean (as in no drugs and alcohol) , off the streets and most importantly continue prenatal care for 6 more weeks. There was no way that we could afford to do that.  But we decided that we would put them up again in the hotel they had stayed at the night before so we could talk and pray and see if we couldn’t work something out.

Here’s where another twist comes in, the night before they had stayed at a $40 a night hotel called the Masters Inn.  I took a break from Hallmark and tried to secure the hotel room for her.  Of course I threw in that we were pastors of a nearby church and that my husband was bringing a pregnant woman there and we would be paying for her room for the night.  The gentleman whom I was talking to asked where she lived and I said she didn’t have a home or an address she was homeless.  To which he quickly responded “We don’t take that type of clientele here!”.  Seriously I said, she stayed there last night and I’m paying for it with a credit card — nope he wasn’t moving.

All of this conversation went on without my husband knowing it and he took her there and tried to get her a room, to which the man said “look I’ve already talked to your wife and I am NOT renting her a room.”  Well my husband was not impressed.  And I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of clientele they served anyways at $40 a night.

So off Joe and the the birth mother secured another hotel across the way……but really The Masters Inn would not take a homeless, pregnant lady the week of Christmas – talk about no room at the inn!

Joe and I were supposed to have a conversation and pray about this right, remember I said that.  Well we were both so torn we didn’t have words to express what emotions where running through us.  We didn’t know Atlanta well enough yet to figure out ministries that might be able to help her and us.  Joe was exhausted because he and been at the house with a handyman hanging blinds and lights all day.  I was exhausted because I still had Christmas stuff to do, had to work at Hallmark, had to get some stuff together for church, and did I forget to mention I still had a lot of packing to do for moving day which was scheduled for the 27th.  I finally went to bed with a couple tynenol PM’s in me and cried myself to sleep, next to a snoring husband — the last time I looked at the clock it was 2:00 am.

To be continued……

The First 3 Days…..

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December 18, 2005 we were 3 days into our unknown journey of adoption.  So let me catch you up on what happened in our lives 8 years ago…..

Friday, December 16, 2005  my husband and I were out and about doing the last minute things that soon to be homeowners do.  We did a final walk through to make sure that the previous homeowner was supposed to fix, we went to Lowes and bought some blinds and we sat at the pizza place  and ate lunch, while I made lists of what we needed to do and when.

To say we were a bit excited and yet a bit apprehensive would be a mild understatement.  We were purchasing our first home and preparing for our first Christmas at our new call.  Sure we had served churches for 8 years but this one was new and churches always have different spins on favorite traditions.  Plus I was working part time at a Hallmark store to try to make things for the new home more affordable.

But things were about to take a turn our trip was very close to becoming filled with more unknowns.  We had long wanted to be parents and felt as if God had given us gifts to being parents.  However, our efforts of having a natural born child had proved to be unsuccessful and after several miscarriages and then a bout with infertility we decided adoption was the best option.  But we hadn’t done anything about adoption since the middle of August.  We were just concentrating on getting a home ready and getting through Christmas.  Yet when we arrived back at our small apartment, there was a message from a person involved with a ministry we had been in conversation with saying that she had a baby for us……wait… what?  What did that message say?  I hardly listened again, honestly only to get her number and I was calling her.

She of course was busy so she was going to call me back but I was so excited and didn’t really want to think about all the could be’s so I called my mother in law and shared the awesome news that she was going to be a grandma again — or at least I thought.  Wow things were getting wild and I didn’t know what way was up and which was down and I hardly knew who the man in the same room with me was.

The return call came just a few minutes later and we found out a homeless drug addict was wanting to give up her baby and wanted to meet with us.  It was made very clear that the baby was most likely going to be a crack baby and the mother had no idea when she was due as she had NO (yes I said NO) prenatal care.  But it was thought she would be giving birth relatively soon.  We agreed to meet with the ministry director and the birth mother the next day.

I don’t think a night has ever went so slow – we searched the internet to find out about crack babies, we talked to my father in law who contacted others who may have more experience (my FIL was the director of a recovery program at the time).  If the baby was relatively healthy other than the crack it looked like something we could manage but there were no guarantees.

Honestly going into the meeting that Saturday morning we both had apprehensions.  We wondered if the birth mother and father wanted something more than we could give – we wondered if we would financially be able to care for what could be a medically fragile baby.  We were sort of ready to find a reason affirmed by God that this was not the right baby for our family.  However, what we encountered was just the opposite — indeed we encountered a homeless drug addict but also a lady with the most sweetest and gentlest spirit that I’d ever met.  I feel instantly in love with her and her unborn child.  When asked what she wanted, she simply looked at both of us and said “to love my baby that I can’t care for.”  We assured her that if we adopted her baby he or she would never lack for love, our love, our friends and families love, any church we served loved and most importantly God’s love.

We asked several more times what she wanted — she finally said she had been craving milk.  Well that was an easy fix also, we secured milk along with a gift card for access to more milk and food.  We also had the ministry arrange for her to have an ultrasound on Monday for we needed to have an idea about the medical condition and how far along she was.  I promised her while holding her hands that if for some reason we couldn’t adopt her unborn child, that we would find someone who could and would love them unconditionally.

We left that meeting with even more mixed emotions.  But we had to get through Sunday — the fourth Sunday of Advent.  We lead worship and didn’t say a word to the congregation, just unsure of what the next few days would bring.  We didn’t even know what Monday would bring……